Review: ‘Arrow’ S04E11 – ‘A.W.O.L.’

By January 28, 2016

On this week’s episode of Arrow, we learned that goth Felicity is only a painkiller or two away, Amanda Waller is a cold hearted bitch and there are far too many evil organizations running amok in Star City. Let’s take a closer look at ‘A.W.O.L.,’ shall we?

Felicity is having a hard time adjusting to life with her spinal injury and has basically decided to throw herself a pity party. While Oliver tries to get her to rejoin the team, she pushes back, claiming to not be ready to return. To make matters worse, she also begins hallucinating. Her goth past-self basically begins to stalk her, trying to convince her that her entire life is a lie. Felicity is having none of that and heads to the Arrow cave where she gives Oliver an impassioned speech about being a hero. She then does her magic and helps the team when they need her the most. It’s then that she realizes that she is an integral member of the team and decides to let go of her past by symbolically burning a photo of her past goth self. It’s then Ollie’s turn for the impassioned speech, telling her that although the doctors consider her injury permanent, nothing in their world is impossible and he will make sure that she walks again.

On the villain of the week front, a new team of elite evil-doers, this time known as Shadow Spire, comes to town with mischief of their mind. But it’s not just a random evil organization, no, because that would be far too simple. This is actually an organization that Diggle and Andy had a run in with when they were in the forces together in Afghanistan. Well, Diggle had a run in with and Andy decided to join. You know, because Andy’s has a tendency to make really poor life choices. Shadow Spire storms the ARGUS headquarters looking for the Rubicon access codes that only Amanda Waller can supply. When Amanda refuses to comply, they assassinate her. That leaves Lila in charge.

Andy tries to get Diggle to release him so that he can help, but Diggle refuses, still not sure he can trust his brother. Since Andy and the Shadow Spire go way back, he tells them that John is roaming the building and that if they capture him, Lila will sing like a canary. So, they do. Just when we think that Andy is really the prick that we think he is, he attacks Joyner, the Shadow Spire leader. And our heroes win the day! Yay! Because, of course, the rest of Team Arrow isn’t far away. They always seem to be in the middle of a tussle. In the end, John and Lila invite Andy to live with them as he attempts to rebuild his life.

Thankfully, we were somewhat saved by the horrible flashbacks this week, as they consisted of seeing John and Andy in action in Afghanistan. Of course, they did manage to come full circle (surprise, surprise) when in the end, Reiter shows up as Joyner’s boss in the Shadow Spire, spouting crap about the elusive magical island known as Purgatory. Which, of course, we all know as Lian Yu. Why does everything have to come back to that stupid island? It just really needs to go away!

Okay, so while I think that the relationship between Andy and John is totally worth exploring, the rest of it was just kind of meh for me. There was nothing revelatory or anything about it and not even the death of Amanda Waller was really shocking. And are we really supposed to care? I mean, she was a cold hearted witch who had very little interaction with our band of heroes. I can’t get too upset about an unlikable character, who only pops up at really sporadic intervals, dies at the hands of a villain of the week. Sorry, but I just can’t muster any emotion.

I actually really liked the Felicity story arc this week and I think it was an interesting way to convey her tumultuous thoughts and feelings. Besides, I’m never going to say no to gothy, angsty Felicity. And I’m also glad that she didn’t dwell in her pity party funk for a long time. It would be way out of character for her. It was just the perfect amount for everyone involved. And there were just the right amount of Stephen Amell teary eyes to make the whole thing pretty lovely. Now, if he had managed to be shirtless, well… let’s just say that would have been just about perfect.

Overall, I think this was an okay episode, it’s just that neither it nor The Flash are really blowing me away in the back half of the season so far. I think I’m missing the season arc narrative. I seem to really notice it when it’s not there and everything else just feels kind of like filler. Other than the relationship building parts of the Diggle brother’s relationship, no one else has really moved forward, character wise. Here’s hoping that the rest of the season brings a little more to the proceedings, or it’s going to be a long spring.

Make sure to check back for updates—right here on Geek Nation.

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Erin Parisien
Erin is a writer, a comic-book geek, a movie nerd and a pop culture junkie... all long before it was cool! She's the senior Editor and a writer over at and can always be found behind a keyboard, because it's all about the words. Follow her @erin_the_novel over on twitter.